Exposé Online banner

Zhaoze — Intoxicatingly Lost
(Trail Records TR-017, 2015/2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-06-12

Intoxicatingly Lost Cover art

With Intoxicatingly Lost, Trail Records gives Guangzhou’s Zhaoze their most prominent international release to date. This collection contains four tracks from 2015’s Yesternight Yes Tonight, one (the title track) from a 2015 EP, two from Cang Ling Xing (2010), one from 1911 (2011), and one from a movie soundtrack that was previously released on an EP. This selection provides a good overview of the band’s sound, which is consistent enough over this time period that it even works as an album in its own right. The tracks aren’t sequenced chronologically, but provide a flow of mood and sound. In particular, the Yesternight tracks feature a somewhat expanded instrumentation, featuring the xiao (a Chinese traditional flute) prominently, so dividing them into two chunks helps the set sound more coherent. In its current form, Zhaoze is a post-rock band that features guqin prominently, whether plucked in a traditional manner or played with a bow and sounding very much like a cello. As with many post-rock bands, the sound is sweeping and expansive, with dramatic melodies and long swells over fairly simple rhythmic backgrounds. But Zhaoze are masters of subtle variation, and by tweaking the instrumentation here and there come up with a sound that is not so homogenous that it ever gets boring. There’s sometimes an acoustic guitar in the mix, or the electric is played with an ebow; the guqin and xiao are not just ornamentation but integral to the arrangements. Track 8 adds a new wrinkle, featuring vocals singing Chinese lyrics in a brief verse at the beginning, then wordlessly later in the tune. The collection finishes with the title track, a 12 minute epic journey with widely varying sections flowing smoothly. This great band’s recordings have been difficult to come by in the past — now there’s no excuse not to check them out. Highly recommended for lovers of dramatic (but not corny) instrumental music.

Filed under: Archives, 2016 releases, 2015 recordings

Related artist(s): Zhaoze (Swamp)

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Randy California - The Euro-American Years 1979-1983 – It merits discussion as to what, in the early 80s context, constituted the difference between a Spirit album and a Randy California album. Because nearly every Spirit composition in those days was...  (2008) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues